Product Update

April 22, 2004

1. Exchange: Enhancements to OpenAir OffLine, OpenAir for Palm® and OpenAir for PocketPC®.

OpenAir’s thin clients provide a convenient way to enter time and expenses when users are not connected to the Internet. Recent enhancements to OpenAir OffLine, OpenAir for Palm® and OpenAir for PocketPC® incorporate features from the web application. All three applications now support the feature that allows all users (even without an explicit assignment) to log time and expense to a project task. In the Timesheets module, all three applications now support payroll type and the disabling of overlapping timesheets, as well as the feature that takes the default service/activity from project task. In Expenses, all applications support billable/non-billable receipts and default tax locations on envelopes. They also respect the online settings to require a project task or payment type, and to hide the expense location, the status and cash advance fields on envelopes or receipts. The end result is to make the exchange of data between thin client and live account more seamless than ever. To download the latest versions of OpenAir’s thin clients, please go to My Account > Exchange > Add-on services.


2. Projects: View critical path on Gantt chart; billing rule caps enhanced; hide profitability on project overview report; highlight alternate rows on project booking grid.

OpenAir project managers now have the ability to view the critical path on the Gantt chart. The critical path highlights those tasks that must be completed on time for the entire project to be completed on time. To view the critical path, select a project from the list and click on “Gantt view”. The critical path for the project displays in purple. Darker blue lines indicate phase durations; lighter blue lines indicate task durations. Solid lines indicate completed portions of phases and tasks; incomplete portions show a white line in the center of the phase or task line. Note: Projects must be recalculated before the critical path will display. To recalculate, either open a task and save it, or go to My Account > Company > Maintenance. Click the radio button to "Update percent complete and recalculate all active projects" and then click OK.

We have also enhanced the project billing rule cap feature to give managers far more flexibility to accommodate different billing scenarios. With this month’s release, billing managers can precisely direct how a billing cap should be handled within a particular billing rule. Further, they can specify how a cap operates in the context of sequential billing rules. When creating a time or expense billing rule, the billing manager is presented with two new checkboxes relating to caps. The first is “Adjust time entries | receipts to fit under the cap”. If checked, time and expense will be billed up to the level of the cap, even if it means billing a portion of a particular time entry or expense. For example, if the cap is set at $1200, and the value of the first time entry is $1500, $1200 will be billed if “adjust to fit under cap” is checked. If “adjust to fit under cap” is unchecked, the time entry will not be adjusted and nothing will be billed, since the value of the time entry exceeds the cap. The second new checkbox is “Do not bill time entries | receipts that exceed the cap”. If checked, no further billing will take place once the cap is hit. If unchecked, transactions will pass to successive billing rules, if any, for further processing. This permits the billing manager, for example, to set up a time billing rule at a rate of $250 per hour up to a specified cap, and a second billing rule, at a discounted rate, after the first cap is reached. This would also allow the manager to specify the situation where a certain amount of expenses are included in a fixed price billing and only expenses exceeding that are billed as incurred. For this the manager would set up successive expense item billing rules with the first marking expenses down by 100%, and a cap, and the second billing fully or in part to the client.

A third enhancement to the Projects module is an option to hide the profitability section of the project overview report. The report can be accessed by going to Projects > [select a project] > Overview. This option can be useful if you share the project overview report with clients, or with users who shouldn’t have access to profitability figures. The feature is role-based. To turn the profitability figures off for a particular role, navigate to Account > Roles > [select a Role] > Projects. Check the box to “Hide the profitability section in the project overview”. “View projects” and “View project overview” should also be checked. Users with this role will be able to see the project overview report, but not the profitability portion of the report.

Finally, the project booking grid now has an option to highlight alternate rows, making it easier to locate and track data on the grid. To enable this option, administrators and users with the requisite privileges navigate to Projects > Options > Booking grid options. Check the box “Highlight alternate rows” and save.


3. Reports: Customer hierarchies; filter and subtotal by customer owner or project owner; option to include invoice number on time entry detail report; project baseline detail report; suppress decimals in money figures.

This month’s release encompasses numerous reporting enhancements. First, customer hierarchies can now be created and used as the basis for reporting in OpenAir. This is an extension of the existing functionality, which includes user- and project-based hierarchies. Administrators can configure a structure reflecting the various parts of the organization (whether geographical, departmental, or other) and then associate those parts with particular clients. Customer summary reports (both account-wide and module specific) and drill-down reports support customer hierarchies. You can view timebills/charges, expenses, recognized revenue, project assignments and other data according to the hierarchy structure. To create a customer hierarchy, account administrators navigate to My Account > Account > Hierarchies, and select Hierarchy from the New Entries: Create menu. The administrator then creates one or more levels to form the structure of the hierarchy. For each level, the administrator creates nodes, to which clients are assigned.

We have also added filtering and subtotaling by customer owner and project owner to summary and utilization reports. This enables executives to view data at the account or project management level. The customer owner field was added in last month’s release; it allows you when creating or editing a customer to select from the list of active users the person who is responsible for that customer. Similarly, project owner allows you to select the person who is responsible for a particular project. Now, in any summary or utilization report that can be filtered by customer or project, you can filter and/or subtotal by customer owner or project owner respectively. If you divide your client list among the members of your account management team, or your project list among your project management team, you can report on how each member of the team is performing.

The time entries detail report now has an option to display invoice number. This feature is invaluable in enabling users to see at a glance whether there are approved hours waiting to be billed or invoiced. To run this report, users with the necessary privilege navigate to Reports > Detail > Timesheets > Time entries. Set the date range filters to All, or select a desired date range. In the report layout, select date, customer, project, user, time (hours), approval status, amount billed and invoice number. Filter on client, project or other items as desired. Run the report and view instantly which time entries have not been turned into charges/timebills and which have not been put on an invoice.

Another addition this month is a project baseline detail report. Project baselines allow the project manager to monitor the effects of changes to the project plan on parameters such as start and finish dates, planned hours for tasks, duration of tasks, percent complete, revenue, cost and budget. The baseline detail report allows you to see across all projects those that have had baselines created and the components of each baseline. To run the report, users with the required privileges navigate to Projects > Detail > Projects > Project baselines.

Finally, we’ve added the ability to suppress decimals in money figures in reports. This option gives a cleaner view in the report results but, as the tips on the report configuration screen point out, it should be used only in cases where a loss of precision is acceptable. The option rounds the money result figures, but does not round the values used to calculate these figures. Therefore, subtotals and totals on the report may not match up exactly. This option appears on the report configuration form for any report where at least one money value is available.


4. Expenses: New exchange rate option for foreign currency receipts; hide vendor field on receipts; turn off auto-population of description field on receipts.

In Expenses, we introduce several features related to receipts this month. First, we have added a new option for foreign currency receipts. Foreign currency receipts presently allow users to modify the exchange rate, which defaults to the rate on the receipt-creation date. This month, administrators can select a different style of foreign currency receipt, if desired. Under the new option, users cannot edit the exchange rate, which is taken from the receipt date, rather than the receipt-creation date. To select between these two options, administrators navigate to My Account > Company > Settings > Expenses options > Foreign currency receipt type. Select “Modifiable exchange rate based on the current date” or “Non-modifiable exchange rate based on the receipt date”. Save.

A second new setting permits administrators to hide the vendor field on receipts. To enable this setting, navigate to My Account > Company > Settings > Expenses options > Hide vendor field on receipts.

A third option allows administrators to suppress auto-population of the description field on receipts. Presently, when a user selects the expense item on a receipt, the description field is automatically populated with the expense item name. To prevent the expense item choice dictating the description, administrators navigate to My Account > Company > Settings > Expenses. Check the box “Do not auto-populate description field on receipts” and save. The user can select an expense item and the description field will remain blank; it can be filled in by the user as appropriate.


5. Timesheets: Copy timesheet excludes closed tasks; PDF version of timesheet report; bulk generation of PDF timesheets.

In Timesheets, we have enhanced the feature that allows users to copy a timesheet from another timesheet. With this month’s release, if the original timesheet includes a task that has since been closed, the new timesheet will exclude the closed task. This prevents users from booking time to a task after the task has been closed.

We have also added a PDF version for timesheet reports. This is similar to the PDF version of invoices and expense reports. To access the PDF timesheet report, users navigate to Timesheets > [select a timesheet] > Timesheet report. Click the PDF version link.

Bulk generation of PDF timesheet reports is also supported. To take advantage of this feature, the administrator can simply click the customize link at the bottom of the timesheets list. Move “Run an action” to the list of selected items on the right, and click OK. This displays a column of checkboxes in the timesheets list. Check the boxes for the timesheets to be printed. To toggle the entire column of checkboxes on and off, click the icon at the top of the column. Click the circling arrows icon to run the action. Click OK to generate PDF timesheet reports.


6. Other module updates: Resources; Purchases.

In Resources, if a booking change would generate multiple notification emails, the emails are consolidated into as few emails as possible, based on the email destination and subject. Email notification of booking changes is enabled in My Account > Company > Settings > Resources options > Notify booked resource when a booking is added, modified, or deleted.

In Purchases, there is an option to suppress the auto-population of the description field on purchase requests. This is similar to the feature described above in Expenses. To enable this feature, administrators navigate to My Account > Company > Settings > Purchases. Check the box “Do not auto-populate description field on purchase requests” and save.


7. Register for our client Webinar on May 4, 2004.

The latest in our series of regular Webinars introduces new features to our existing clients. The Webinar is scheduled for May 4, 2004 from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m. Visit our events page for other Webinar dates.


8. Would you like to see previous OpenAir product updates?

Click here to browse previous product updates including all new features, modules and functionality.


9. Suggestions, problems, or questions?

As always, please contact us at or 888.367.1288 (outside the U.S. and Canada, call 617-351-0226). We pride ourselves on the outstanding care we give our customers. Please let us know how we improve your experience with OpenAir.